Do you have to go to church to be a Christian?
- Oddly enough, the Bible wouldn’t recognise that question. Whenever we read about the church in the New Testament (Jesus’ life and after) it is never a building. The church is the people who believe in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord. If someone is a Christian, they are the church.
- The real question then would be, “Can’t I be a Christian just on my own, in my own way?” Well, the Bible also speaks about the church as if it were a body. The parts of the body are all very different – an eye is nothing like a foot! They all have different functions – but all the parts belong together to make the whole. For our Christian life, the way we learn how to trust and follow Jesus is in the teaching of the Bible, especially as we learn together with other Christians, and are encouraged or challenged by other Christians some who have gone through the same or similar troubles or trials. And you can be an encourager for them too.
- The Bible also sometimes speaks about our Christian life like a race – but it’s a marathon, not a sprint! People alongside us help us to keep going; and our being alongside others helps them too. But the aim of our marathon is to be in heaven with Jesus who is now our elder brother. So other Christians are now our brothers and sisters – we are family who share our lives with one another.